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Why do we conduct hazard assessments?
Most of us know how to conduct a hazard assessment. It’s often a matter of following the JSA process when preparing a mechanical job or reviewing a written procedure prior to operating process equipment.
But unless we do something about any uncontrolled hazard we identify, we wasted everyone’s time. A recordable injury with the Site Transportation group highlighted this.
A shallow excavation was constructed to perform work on piping. The excavation had 3 vertical sides and an entry/exit ramp on the 4th side. An X-ray crew had been directed to use the ramp to enter and exit, and they were further instructed to move a section of fence to ensure they could freely access the ramp.
However, rather than move the fence, they chose to walk along the edge of the excavation and jump approximately 30 inches into the excavation and onto the ramp.
They exited in a similar way, walking part way up the ramp, and then hopping out onto the edge of the excavation. Unfortunately, on exiting, one individual lost his balance and fell back into the excavation cutting his leg on a protruding post. The wound required medical staples to close.
The investigation showed that crew recognized the hazard of hopping in and out of the excavation, but they did not stop work to address the hazard by simply moving the fence. That failure to follow through on mitigating a recognized hazard caused a recordable injury.
When you identify a hazard that needs to be mitigated, take the time to address it before you start work. You could be the one impacted by a hazard that should have been addressed.